Six patients with ocular symptoms were referred by the Eye Service to the Vascular Service because of the presence of cholesterol emboli on fundoscopic examination of the retinal arteries. None of the six patients had classic intermittent retinal or cerebral ischemic attacks. Four-vessel aortic arch arteriogram was suggested and significant ipsilateral carotid disease was found in all patients. Four patients underwent carotid endarterectomy, with removal of ulcerated plaques from the carotid bifurcation. Two patients had total occlusion of the ipsilateral internal carotid artery and therefore were not operative candidates. The presence of retinal cholesterol emboli is an indication for extracranial arteriography. When ipsilateral ulcerative disease is found, carotid endarterectomy is indicated regardless of the symptoms.
Tompkins WC, Vander Molen RL, Yacoubian HD, Connolly JE. Retinal Artery EmboliIndications for Angiography and Carotid Endarterectomy. Arch Surg. 1975;110(9):1075-1078. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360150019003